What is the SOAR Community Support Team sponsorship program?

Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees (SOAR) welcomes hundreds of refugees to the Portland metro area every year. Newly-arrived refugees need support for daily tasks such as shopping, connecting to others in their new community and learning financial literacy.

Your faith, civic or educational group can empower newly-arriving refugees through our Community Support Team (CTS) sponsorship program.

Community Support Teams are guides, friends and advocates for newly-arrived refugees, helping refugees become self-sufficient quickly. By working together, your group and SOAR can best assure refugees succeed in their new country.

As Guides: CSTs supply initial food, goods and clothing for refugees. They introduce refugees to U.S. culture, acquainting them with important aspects of American life, culture and customs.

As Friends: CSTs offer friendship, emotional support and encouragement as refugees adjust to U.S. culture. CSTs share in the cultural heritage of refugees and honor their customs and traditions.

As Advocates: To help ensure refugees are not exploited, discriminated against or taken advantage of, CSTs encourage refugees to connect with other refugees for mutual support and to network with other groups to foster multicultural communication and understanding.

Community Support Teams are encouraged to make a 90-Day Commitment to the refugee(s). This is an ethical, not legal, commitment. SOAR staff will provide you instruction, information and advice during your sponsorship period.

What are Community Support Teams responsible for?

Minimum of two trainings and volunteer fieldwork:

    • Training 1: Refugee Resettlement 101 + CST Program Overview
    • Training 2: Client Confidentiality, Boundary Setting and Best Practices
    • Commit to other volunteer jobs for SOAR clients to train for sponsorship

*Additional trainings may be required after official family match


    • Background Check
    • Signed Commitment of Sponsorship
    • Church World Service Code of Conduct
    • Regular Submission of Volunteer Hours

Team organization:

    • Choosing a team lead that will be the main communicator to Community Engagement Manager.
    • Forming a team of a least five volunteers that will be designated "roles" or "jobs" to cover the needed areas necessary to empower a refugee client’s journey to self-sufficiency.
    • Working with SOAR resettlement staff to ensure the goal of client self-sufficiency.
    • NOTE: While it's not a requirement, SOAR recommends teams make a fundraising goal of $2,500 to help assist the family with financial needs.


Fill out the form below or call SOAR’s Community Engagement Coordinator Jenna Eliel for more information at (503) 284-3002, ext. 114, or jeliel@emoregon.org.

Community Support Teams Form



SOAR location
7931 NE Halsey St., Ste. 314, Portland, OR 97213
phone (503) 284-3002
email soar@emoregon.org
Vesna Vila, Program Director